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Working With Content Frameworks: How to Build Epic Content Fast

Working With Content Frameworks: How to Build Epic Content Fast

As he sat in the chair, sweating and shaking profusely, John had two choices: to either pass the test or get shot by his psycho dad…

John was a dull student, everyone knew that. Calling him an “F student” was an overstatement. And on this hot afternoon, as he sat in the exam room, John was faced with being expelled from school for the second time in two years.

His only saving grace was the essay test he had to write and pass. But the thing is, John didn’t know anything about writing good essays. And every time the thought of failing crossed his mind, he remembered his father’s shot gun at home.

His dad shot his elder brother, William, in the leg because he was suspended for two weeks for missing tests. Now, John faced the same fate. In fact, he could already feel his left leg throbbing from gunshot wounds. Ouch!

For John, staying in school and staying alive was his challenge—he just had to make it work. For you, however, there are bills to pay, a family to feed, a life to live and a business to run, but for some reason you’re not seeing any traction. The only thing that’s standing in your way is the ability to create just one epic blog post that would bring in all the sales you want. But the thing is, creating epic content isn’t one of your strong points, or so you think.

Anyone can create epic content, but for some it could take five to six hours just to write a 1,000 word blog post. And with the challenges in your life and business, you don’t have that luxury of time. So, what do you do?

Fill In the Gaps Using Content Frameworks

John was probably taught how to create good essays using frameworks, but I guess he didn’t pay attention during that class. So, this is your class and I’m you tutor…let’s get going.

Why should you use content frameworks? Because it works, period!

Actually, creating content that people want, in a way that they would appreciate it and see the value within, isn’t that simple. In any place you find yourself, there are rules governing your existence there. And as long as you abide by those rules, you’re safe.

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The same goes for the internet. In order to build an effective content marketing strategy for your business, there are rules that govern creating content for the internet. Some people know these rules and use them to their advantage to get more traffic, engagement, or sales. Others ignore these rules because they feel they are not important. You’re not one of them, are you?

A content framework gives you a “skeletal” structure that your content should follow if you really want to get results. And the good thing is that this structure makes creating content pretty fast because all you do is fill in the gaps.

Content frameworks are also flexible, meaning you can restructure them to suit your business and your kind of audience.

How to Use Content Frameworks

Now this is the part that John would have wished he knew.

Back in high school, you were taught that articles have to follow a basic outline:

Title of the article ———– Introduction ———– Body ———– Conclusion

Well, the good thing is that it still follows the same outline. Only it looks somewhat like this:

content frameworks infographic

    It looks simple, right? Let’s break it up:

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    1. The Title or Headline

    Your headline should be able to make the reader decide whether to read your content or just pass by. It should start selling to your reader what’s in your content even before they start reading the introduction.

    Now the thing is you may not get the headline right every time. I also mess it up sometimes. But with practice, you’ll get the hang of it and it’ll get easier.

    If there’s nothing else online that has formulas to work with, headlines do. So, I really won’t go into that here. Here are a few great resources that will help you create headlines that rock:

    How to Write Magnetic Headlines by Brian Clark

    101 Headline Formulas by Peter Sandeen

    52 Headline Hacks by Jon Morrow

    2. The Introduction

    The introduction is the next step in drawing in your reader. If you got it right in your headline and your introduction is crap, then that content has failed. Your content will only bring results if the reader gets to the end of it and follows the instructions in your call to action.

    So, what goes into the introduction to make it work?

    Nothing much: Just a simple, compelling story that lights up your reader’s brain and keeps them glued to their screens. But like everything else, stories have structures.

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    As you have seen in the diagram, you start your introduction with a hook.

    What’s a hook? This is simply a statement in your story or about your article that is compelling enough to make the reader move to the next sentence. That’s the only purpose. Get this right and you’ll see your “Average time on site” in your analytics increase by an extra few seconds.

    After the hook comes the real story from the beginning. It is important to note that your story has guidelines as well:

    1. It must not be disconnected from the hook.

    2. It should state the problem that your reader is facing. And then focus on that problem.

    3. It should have a main character, which could be your reader or a fictional character with a name.

    4. Give specific details in your story. Saying, “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,” wouldn’t have the same effect as saying, “Humpty Dumpty fell off a six-foot fence and lost his left leg.”

    After the story comes the “conclusion to the introduction.” This is where you give your reader hope that his or her problem can be solved. You gradually hint at the solution, without explicitly stating it. Just keep them hanging in there.

    3. The Body

    The real value of your content is in the body. The information that could turn the life of your reader around should be found in the body. For example, what you’re reading now is in the body of this post.

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    So what goes into the body of your content to make it work?

    Simple: A subheadline and a whole lot of value!

    The subheadline is simply a continuation of what you finished off with in your introduction. In a few words it briefly explains what you’re about to teach your audience. The body of this article started with, “Fill in the gaps using content frameworks.” For me, I particularly use it to answer a question I ask at the end of the introduction.

    After the subheadline comes a brief introduction to what you’re about to teach the reader and then you go to the main points. Depending on the kind of article you’re writing, you could separate your main points using bullets (if it’s a list article), or break them up as subheadlines as well. In this post, I combined the two methods.

    4. The Conclusion

    Your conclusion must do two things: Assure the reader that he or she has the solution and help him or her to take action.

    So what goes into the conclusion?

    Three things: A summary of the content, what the reader should expect when he or she takes action, and then your call to action (what the reader should do next to take action). If you started your content with a story, you should also end it here. What does this mean? It means you’re about to find out whether John got shot by his dad or not!

    It’s important to note that every part of your content must communicate value to the reader and must be connected. By making your introductory story flow into the body and also into the conclusion, you lead the reader on a journey that would finally end on your site. That’s some extra traffic juice. And the good thing is that you can make this a consistent habit by always using content frameworks to create your content. It’ll not only add more value to your audience, but also to your pocket and lifestyle.

    Too bad John didn’t know about frameworks and how to use them to create good essays. But the good thing is that he didn’t get shot by his father. That was a huge relief…for a moment. The bad thing is his dad used a sledge hammer instead!

    But unlike John, you know how to use content frameworks. So use it to create epic content that cuts down your writing time to one hour or less.

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2019

    Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

    Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

    The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

    It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

    To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

    So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

    1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

    We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

    Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

    Stop focusing on the material objects

    Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

    Plan gifts in advance

    We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

    Suggest a better way

    If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

    Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

    You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

    Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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    2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

    It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

    If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

    How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

    Here’s what you can do:

    Set a healthier pattern

    For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

    Get a fitness watch

    Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

    Find a physical activity that you enjoy

    Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

    Try intermittent fasting

    This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

    Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

    You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

    3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

    In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

    But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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    These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

    Leave bigger intervals between meetings

    If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

    Plan time to relax

    As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

    Try to be a little pessimistic

    We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

    Try waking up earlier

    Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

    Plan your day the day before

    Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

    Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

    If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

    4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

    If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

    Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

    Binge-watching TV series

    Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

    You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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    Running on coffee

    Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

    As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

    Procrastination

    Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

    Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

    If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

    Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

    5. Stop over-consuming

    We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

    Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

    • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
    • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
    • Can I rent it?
    • Can I make it myself?
    • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

    For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

    Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

    6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

    Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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    But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

    Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

    Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

    For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

    Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

    Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

    Set your phone on flight mode

    When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

    Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

    You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

    The Bottom Line

    As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

    But this year, promise yourself this:

    Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

    Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

    Reference

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